I've seen a few questions at stack overflow related to finite field, which seem like they belong here, since they are questions about algorithms and/or implementations which are not language specific and could refer to software and/or hardware implementation.

However there is a tag for finite fields at


so perhaps finite field related questions should go there?

As an example case, someone posted a question at SO on how an AES inversion matrix and its inverse are generated. The required information for this was only partially there (also only partially there on several articles I found for this), and I had to resort to reverse engineering the matrices to determine the missing information and then explain how to create those matrices. Would the reverse engineering and/or derivation of those matrices qualify as an "algorithm", and belong in computer science or in math?

Link to the question and answer:


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is a meta question and should be asked at meta.cs.stackexchange.com. But to answer the question, finite fields are normally on-topic at Math.SE; off-topic at Stack Overflow if they do not pertain to programming; and off-topic here if they do not pertain to computer science. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2019 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ Here is an expected simple simplified answer: there is no reason except that tag was not created. It is entirely reasonable to create a tag for finite fields, as seen from questions and answers involving finite fields. $\endgroup$
    – John L.
    Dec 22, 2019 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


I don't recommend paying much attention to the existence of tags. The existence or non-existence of tags does not determine what is in-scope here. There are multiple tags for things that are off-topic, and many topics that are in-scope but have no tags.

As far as questions about finite fields, well, it depends what your question is. For example, questions about algorithms for working with finite fields are on-topic here. Questions about implementations or coding are off-topic here and should go to Stack Overflow. Mathematical questions about finite fields that are best answered by a mathematician should go to math.SE, not here. I recommend reading What kinds of mathematics do we consider computer science enough to be ontopic here? and Should questions about other sciences for computer scientists be on topic? for criteria on how to judge which questions should be asked here vs which should be asked on Math.SE.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .